Even after one doctor’s studies linking childhood vaccines to autism had been totally debunked and retracted — and the doctor totally discredited — many parents had lingering concerns about thimerosal, a mercury-based substance that was used to preserve vaccines.
A new government study in the U.S. has concluded that even children who were exposed to high-levels of thimerosal were no more likely to develop autism than children who had low- or no-exposure to the stuff.
But will vaccine hold-outs change their minds?
Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control hope these newest findings will reassure parents who have been concerned about the recommended vaccines schedule. Persistent fears of the vaccines have caused outbreaks of diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella, all of which routine vaccines can prevent.
The study looking specifically at thimerosal took data of children born between 1994 and 1999 and were enrolled in one of three HMOs. They looked at over 1,000 children, 256 of which had been diagnosed with a disorder on the autism spectrum. They were compared with the 752 who had not been similarly diagnosed and then matched them by age and sex.
What they found was that no matter when the child was exposed to thimerosal, either in utero, at birth or as a toddler, there was increased risk in developing any type of the disorders.
Inexplicably and contrary to those with fears about thirmerosal, they found kids exposed to thimerosal between birth and 20 months had a slightly lower risk of developing one of the disorders.
A summary of the report on MSNBC also notes that rates of diagnosis for autism spectrum disorders have continued to climb, despite the removal of thimerosal from all routine childhood vaccines, expect flu shots.
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